NDP Sails Into Stormy Convention Weekend

The New Democratic Party (NDP) seems to be sailing head on into a political storm this weekend when the party holds its 39th Convention in Layou, St. Vincent.

Despite being rocked by internal turmoil, the NDP, under the guidance of newly appointed Opposition Leader and President, Dr Godwin Friday has decided to hold its convention exercise at the hard court an open air facility in Layou.

But just how the party intends to navigate the political waves, in light of damning statements made by current Vice President and Central Kingstown Representative Hon. St. Claire ‘Major’ Leacock is riddled with uncertainty.

The controversial NDP member of Parliament threatened to cross the floor, if given that mandate by his Central Kingstown constituents.

Leacock comments came early Friday, February 10th during a Boom FM Radio interview with host Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph.

 It is not clear how in fact Leacock intends to clearly define that mandate to which he intimated in his replies to questions on the matter from the Boom FM Radio host.

Another talk show host, Douglas Defreitas of Nice Radio, earlier on Friday, February 10th, had chimed in on the Leacock issue. Defreitas chided Leacock saying, he has at times spoken out of turn.

 Defreitas also expressed dissatisfaction with the NDP Vice President for making statements at inappropriate venues while referencing the comments Leacock made on February 9th in the House of Assembly at the end of his contribution to the 2017 Budget Debate.

In those comments, Leacock said he was not contesting the Vice President Position at the NDP’s 39th convention. He further indicated that a new NDP will emerge after the February 12th convention.

The Nice Radio Host, Douglas Defreitas, said there has been a tug of war in the NDP since its “bruising defeat in 2001”.

He credited former leader Arnhim Eustace, and others, including Leacock, for moving the party from three to seven seats in the nation’s parliament.

Defreitas cited what he termed as a bruising leadership convention in November 2016, and suggested that Leacock feels insulted to be challenged for the Vice President position by newly appointed Senator Marcia Barnwell, after he had worked so hard within the party.

Defreitas expressed support for the decision by Leacock not to contest, saying Barnwell does not yet hold a seat in Parliament and seemed to espouse the view that only senior and or elected members within the NDP should vie for a VP position within that democratic party.

Meanwhile, Leacock indicated in his Thursday, February 9th comments in the Parliament that he would continue to serve the NDP, but stopped short of saying in what capacity, apart from his role as Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown.

This week’s developments have presented more challenges for the leadership of the NDP as the party sails deep into unpredictable weather ahead of what may be a stormy 39th convention weekend.

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